Hitachi floating turbine generating power

JAPAN: An 2MW Hitachi floating turbine has begun generating electricity in demonstration tests conducted by Japan's Ministry of the Environment in south western Japan.

The turbine, which is situated approximately 1km off the coast of Kabashima, on the Goto islands, is the biggest floating wind project of its kind in Japan to date. The electricity will be sold to Kyushu Electrical Power Company, a regional utility.

The demonstration tests based on a single 170-metre high structure and is part of a national project set to run for two years.

As part of the project, the Environment Ministry will gather data regarding the impact of the turbine on fisheries, and its resistance to typhoons. This is be released as part of its efforts to combat global warming.

This sets the Goto islands project apart from those run by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which is promoting wind as a source of energy.

The project was originally launched with the intention of dismantling it after the tests were finished, but Deputy Director of the Climate Change Policy Division, Yoshida said that may not happen.

"It will take a lot of money to dismantle the equipment, and we are now considering selling it off," he said. He added there are no plans to add other turbines to create a wind farm.

Environment minister Nobuteru Ishihara attended a celebration on a ship off the Goto Islands in Nagasaki Prefecture in southwest Japan, and said, "Offshore wind, with the greatest potential resource volume holds the key to disseminating renewable energy. I hope this can be expended from Goto all over Japan," NHK, the quasi-state broadcasting company reported.

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